Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Spring 2018

Department 1



Previous research has shown that the desirability of an object influences perceived distance from the object, such that desirable objects are perceived as closer than objects that are not desirable (Balcetis & Dunning, 2010). It has also been suggested that metaphors reflect how our knowledge is represented; so, for example, making the head or heart more salient produces characteristics commonly associated with those body parts (i.e., emotionality for the heart and rationality for the head) (Fetterman & Robinson, 2013). The current study examined the effects of head or heart salience and desirability on distance perception. We hypothesized that since common idioms relate the heart to desirability, salience of the heart would cause desirable objects to be perceived as closer than would salience of the head, but there would be no such difference between the head and heart conditions when the object was neutral. To test this hypothesis, participants had their attention drawn to either their head or their heart by placing their index finger there while throwing a beanbag towards a desirable or a neutral object. In Experiment 2, a verbal distance estimate was also included. We predicted that there would be a significant interaction between desirability of object and hand placement. Specifically, we expected that there would be no effect of hand placement when the object was neutral but that heart-pointers would perceive a desirable object as closer than the head-pointers. Results from both experiments failed to support our hypothesis.


Written for Psych 315: Advanced Lab in Thinking and Cognition.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.